I found quilting this small piece offered more freedom than my usual larger pieces. Nonetheless, I began by securing with monofilament... an extra fine one at that. More colored threads to follow.
Having that done, I chose to figure out the background as I already have a fair idea what's happening with his mane. Since the original oil painting background was predominately red with soft in and out of focus black on outer perimeter , I chose to quilt the blacker areas with a very dark red.. in almost a map topography /echo pattern... followed by bright red thread in remaining background areas.
Starting to quilt in the mane